Sphenopalatine Ganglion (SPG) Block Procedure Offers a New Option for Migraine
Migraine headaches are one of the most common, debilitating diseases in
the Unites States, and the cost and side effects of prescription medications
to address migraines can become overwhelming. But, a short, simple procedure
targeting a group of nerve cells inside and behind the nose is bringing
new hope and sustained relief to some migraine headache patients who have
tried a new procedure called a sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) nerve block.
“SPG block works because a patient’s SPG is linked to their trigeminal nerve,
which is involved in migraine headaches,” said Brian B. Rhodes, MD, an
interventional radiologist at CVMC.
Chronic migraine sufferers can find relief with a 15 minute, non-invasive
treatment administered through the nose via a needleless catheter called
a Sphenocath. During the procedure, a numbing medication is applied to
the SPG, a structure behind the nose where the nerves that register facial
and migraine pain reside.
“Intranasal SPG blocks are image-guide, targeted, breakthrough treatments,”
said Dr. Rhodes. “They offer a patient-centered therapy that has
the potential to break the migraine cycle and quickly improve a patients’
quality of life.”
Administering lidocaine to the SPG acts as a ‘reset button’
for the brain’s migraine circuitry. When the initial numbing of
the lidocaine wears off, the migraine trigger seems to no longer have
the maximum effect that it once did. In fact, some patients have reported
immediate relief and are making fewer trips to the hospital for emergency
Dr. Rhodes says that, because of the minimally invasive nature of the treatment
and the medication’s safety profile, patients can have the SPG block
repeated, if needed.
SPG treatment by
Catawba Radiology is very low risk and has very high success rates. It is also indicated
in patients with trigeminal neuralgia, cluster headaches, and atypical
facial pain. This pain-free procedure is safe for adults and children
and is reimbursed by most insurance companies and Medicare. To schedule
a consultation or to find out more about what to expect during the SPG
procedure, contactCatawba Radiology at 828.322.2644.